03/08/2012 Monterey and Pebble Beach 2012: Events guide and auction round-up
Yes, it’s that time again. All around the world, the car-collecting community’s attention is focused on a peninsula overlooking the Pacific Ocean, just a two-hour drive from San Francisco International Airport. We look ahead to what’s in store for visitors in 2012.
Monterey week is one of THE must-dos for any serious car aficionado. This year, one man will feature heavily in the saleroom, the concours field and the race track: the 1959 Le Mans winner, creator of the Cobra and all-round American legend, Carroll Shelby, who died this May.
It’s not too late to book a flight, find some accommodation (don’t expect to get into Carmel, or anywhere else too close to the action, though) and enjoy an experience like few others.
So, you’ve picked up a rental at SFO, you’ve tuned the radio to KFOX 98.5 and you’ve stopped off at the nearest Target (try pronouncing it ‘Tar-jay’, as the locals do…) to pick up a cheap Garmin sat-nav for around $100. Where do you go next?
Here’s our list of some of the best events scheduled for Monterey 2012:
Pre-Reunion, Rolex Monterey Motorsports at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Friday 10 - Sunday 12 August
For those lucky enough to be in the area, the ‘Pre-Reunion’ meeting held the week before the main event features many of the cars that will be racing on 18-19 August. The paddock is less crowded and, camera-wise, you should be able to get that all-important position high-up by the Corkscrew.
For more information, visit www.mazdaraceway.com.
Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue
Tuesday 14 August
The perfect way to start a week in the area. Held between the hours of 10:00 and 17:00 on Tuesday, 14 August, this year the free-to-the-public event is for post-War cars up to 1973, with special classes for Porsches and Ferraris up to 1989. Over 175 entries of all categories (American ‘muscle’, hot rods, European GTs, classic ‘woodies’ etc) are expected to be on show in the streets of Carmel, picturesquely en fête for the occasion.
For more information, visit www.carmelconcours.com.
Automobilia Monterey, Ballroom of The Embassy Suites, Canyon Del Rey, Seaside
Tuesday 14 - Wednesday 15 August
I challenge you to visit this event and not buy something. Think of it as the best of Paris Rétromobile, placed in a large ground-floor area, with easy parking outside and all just 20 minutes or so from Carmel on Highway 1. The opening hours are 10:00 - 18:00 Tuesday, 10:00 - 19:00 Wednesday.
For more information, visit www.automobiliamonterey.com.
Gordon McCall's 'Motorworks Revival 2012', Monterey Jet Center, 300 Sky Park Drive, Monterey
Wednesday 15 August
There’s still time to buy tickets for the first big party of Monterey car week. Be there or be square, we say. And if you are there from the opening time of five o'clock to when the event closes at ten, you better arrange for a lift home as the Bernardus Wines- and Ultimat Vodka-sponsored party really swings.
For those able to still see straight, it also features new supercars, executive jets, watches, designer jewellery, vintage aeroplanes and many classic cars likely to be seen again either at auction, on the concours lawn or at 'The Track' later that week. Highly recommended.
For ticket information, visit www.mccallevents.com.
Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex
Thursday 16 August
Always a favourite (and also completely free), the Tour d’Elegance is a police-escorted cavalcade of cars entered in Sunday’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The route starts at Collins Field (next to Gooding & Co.’s marquee at the Equestrian Center) where the cars leave in groups around 08:30. They then travel on 17-Mile Drive and Highway 1 to the lighthouse at Big Sur before stopping at Carmel-by-the-Sea (which becomes a little congested) for lunch.
Around three o'clock everything is safely back under wraps at Pebble Beach. For photography, it’s worth parking-up along Highway 1 after 09:00 and then watch the carefully shepherded waves of cars go past.
The Tour is not mandatory for Concours entries. Some cars are just too extreme to drive on the road, but, come Sunday, if two cars tie on points it will be the car that entered the Tour that gets the nod from the judges.
How do any of the Monterey-week auction houses do it? Year after year, assembling the most amazing catalogues? (You could say the same thing about auction reporters, their bank of superlatives running worryingly low – but that’s another matter.)
RM has been in the business longer than most and, yet again this August, has produced another magnificent selection of 120 or so cars, all to be offered for sale at its familiar Monterey Portola Plaza hotel venue, just by Fisherman’s Wharf...
Once again taking place at the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, the Concorso is the place to go if you are a fan of all things Italian, with a special emphasis on more modern cars from Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini.
For more information, visit www.concorso.com.
Pebble Beach RetroAuto
Friday 17 - Sunday 19 August
By virtue of the fact that you walk through it on entering and leaving the main area at Pebble Beach, you cannot miss the associated RetroAuto exhibition. Full of rare books, posters, objets d’art and collectibles, it’s the perfect place to wind down and collect your thoughts after a hectic day on the 18th fairway.
American auction house Mecum will be holding a three-day sale at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa on Del Monte Golf Course, Monterey. One of the feature lots this year is #S123, the L&M-sponsored, Penske Racing 1972 Porsche 917/10 Can Am car, driven by George Follmer to overall victory in the 1972 series.
For further information, see www.mecum.com.
'The Quail: A Motorsport Gathering', Quail Lodge, Carmel Valley
Friday 17 August
How well can you beg, borrow or steal? Uh-huh... well... in that case you might be in for a bit of a disappointment. For many years, tickets for ‘The Quail’ have sold out within hours of going on sale. The reason? The garden party atmosphere; the superb catering; the highest quality of cars shown by the most generous exhibitors and concours entrants; the knowledgeable interviews by Winston Goodfellow - and everyone’s idea of an Englishman, Richard Charlesworth, providing humorous and urbane commentary throughout the day.
As an additional highlight, many competition cars are escorted by the Highway Patrol from the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to The Quail for lunch, before returning later to their paddock. This year it will be some of the all-Cobra race entries... it's going to be good.
For more information, visit www.quaillodge.com.
Concours d'LeMons, Laguna Grande Park 1249 Canyon Del Rey Blvd. Seaside, CA 93955
Saturday 18 August "9:14 until they throw us out..."
It’s not known as ‘the eyesore of Pebble Beach Automobile Week’ for nothing. The silliest event in seven days of highfalutin, super-valuable, cosseted classic cars, the Concours d'LeMons is so bad it’s good.
If you tire of overhearing complete nonsense spoken with great conviction by others at any one of the ‘proper’ Pebble Beach events, do have a look at the ‘Needlessly Complex Italian, 1974-current’ class at the Concours d'LeMons and then opine in a forthright fashion.
I've yet to go, but it comes highly recommended.
For more information, visit www.concoursdlemons.com.
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Thursday 16 - Sunday 19 August
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion joins the Goodwood Revival, the Le Mans Classic and the Monaco Historics as one of the world’s very best historic racing events.
For out-of-towners such as your Editor, the reason for this is the sheer variety of cars seldom raced in Europe: in 2011 there were several Porsche Carrera Abarths, for example, and Trans Am and IMSA machinery unique to North American racing.
This year, in addition to an all-Cobra race on the Saturday (and a meeting of around 200 cars in the dedicated ‘Shelby Cobra Corral’), there will be a Stock Car race for late-model (1974-1990) stockers plus the regular Trans Am, GT and pre-War grids, and much more.
Advance general admission tickets start at $50.00, with a three-day ticket only $130.00. Hospitality options begin at $200.00 per person. Insider tip: take several layers of clothing, and sun-block, as the day starts chilly and finishes in blazing sunshine which can BURN… For a full schedule, please click here.
For more information, visit www.mazdaraceway.com.
Russo and Steele 12th Annual 'Monterey Sports and Muscle at the Marriott'
Thursday 16 - Saturday 18 August
Over a three-day period, Scottsdale-based auctioneer Russo and Steele will offer around 250 cars at its new 2012 venue, right by Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey. While much of the catalogue is traditional American ‘muscle’, an increasing proportion is now classic European, with leading entries including a 1965 Ferrari 400 Superamerica, a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 and a 1956 Alfa Romeo Sprint Veloce ‘Ultra Light’.
This is the reason we’re all here, right? Absolutely. The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has been likened to the Olympics as the pinnacle of achievement. To be a class winner out of the 200 or so entries is an achievement, and to be Best in Show is akin to breasting the tape in the final of the 100 metres sprint.
As always, Best in Show is most likely to be an inter-war entry. For 2012, classes include ‘Cars of the Maharajas’, ‘Mercer’, ‘Fiat’ and ‘Saoutchik Style’. And, David Gooding’s evening Pebble Beach auction aside, the last time the cars of Carroll Shelby will feature at Monterey 2012 will be in the ‘AC and AC Cobra’ class on the famous 18th fairway.
In addition, modern manufacturers use the annual event to launch new models and concepts, so expect to see the latest cars from Bugatti, McLaren, Aston Martin and Ferrari at close quarters.
From the rarest racing cars and a ‘barn-find’ Ferrari 275 GTB, to the most desirable pre-War, pre-eminently ‘Pebble-able’ Mercedes, Rolls and Duesenbergs, David Gooding’s 2012 August sale has it all...